Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite, acting and global warming activism

Good observation from Tim Blair about how the recent work of late, great British actor Pete Postlethwaite encapsulated "the clash between traditional and modern leftist values".

Blair points out that in Brassed Off his character championed a planet-plundering, carbon-spewing industry (coal mining), but one of his last films, The Age of Stupid, was about as passionately opposed to coal mining as you can get.

Did this bother Postlethwaite? I doubt it. Just as this contradiction says much about the changing political obsessions of the left, it also reveals enduring psychological characteristics of performing artists.

Sure, a lot of them are nervous Nellies in an insecure and competitive industry, so dogmatic climate change catastrophists find them easy to boss around.

But that's not the only reason for their often crazy commitment to the quasi-religious green movement. Firstly, it has something to do with actors being so psychologically immature. Here are some thoughts on that, prompted by the death of that other great British thespian, Corin Redgrave.

Another reason: emotion. Those who love acting have a surfeit of it. But unlike dramatists and screenwriters they don't really have much to say. They need scripts to direct all that passion. Deep green environmentalism fulfills that need - not only in the sense that there are now so many movies and plays with this ideological subtext; it also gives performers like Postlethwaite a clear narrative and role to play (as hero, of course) in their private lives and on the political stage. This means they can be working (emoting), even when they're not! That's a very attractive thing, particularly when you consider how much unemployment they suffer.

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